Old School vs. New School!

Done with my weak Explore deck and having handed off the undefeated Ascend deck to Carinne, I busted out one of the decks I'd drafted from the Old School Cube. I figured the worst case scenario was that the deck would be annoying/unfun, but probably too weak to win, so Carinne would ultimately have a good time. Fortunately, the matchup vastly exceeded this low end expectation. I used the RG Beatdown deck but oddly started out with some strong removal spells against Carinne's slowly developing board, which didn't have anything to remove. I opted to use the recurring Viashino Sandstalker for several turns, taking out the Vampire tokens and other small creatures she used to chump block. Meanwhile, I'd built up a good store of mana, so I could start getting out my big threats. Volcanic Dragon gave me a big advantage, but she answered perfectly with an Air Elemental. I used Hurricane to get rid of both as well as her Resplendent Griffin, while dropping us both by 6 life. Soon thereafter, I was able to empty my hand, getting five creatures out, two with haste, making for a potentially game-winning hit. She was already down to 8, but managed to use her removal just right, staying alive with 3 life. The game continued a few more turns, as I was able to get my bounced Balduivan Barbarians back into play, but she drew a 4/3 that Explored into a +1/+1 counter. She then gave it another +1/+1 and lifelink, getting herself back up to life even with me and then swinging for lethal damage. In the end, this was a great come-from-behind victory for her and a very interesting game for me. I was glad to see this ostensibly weaker set hold its own against more recent and powerful cards. Come to think of it, I was playing with Magic's old cards, and she was playing with the newest! Pretty neat. ___________ A couple days later, I tried the WB Knights deck from this set against Carinne's WB Vampires from Ixalan, and it was one of the best matches we've played so far! The Old School version of WB got off to a quick start, with a classic White Weenie opening that swarmed the board with 1/1s and 2/2s. I was worried I'd get an easy win in, but Carinne started digging up answers that she carefully deployed to take out my biggest threats. (Three 1/1 Vampires of her own helped a lot, especially since they had lifelink.) I was letting her 4/3 schooner through for 4 damage every turn because I would win the back-and-forth race. A Pious Interdiction took out some 3/4 artifact creature I'd just gotten out and kept her in the game with +2 life, but I came back with a Fallen Angel that would win on the next turn. However, her tenth permanent gave one of her creatures (with Ascend) flying, so it could chump block. A round later she got another flyer to block the Fallen Angel, but I was still winning the race, getting her down to 1 life versus my own 3, and I had a blocker that could defend against her schooner. However, she topdecked some card that took out my blocker and buffed one of her attackers, so she was able to attack for another thrilling come-from-behind victory! It's pretty awesome to have these ancient cards going toe to toe with Magic's newest cards to create exciting back-and-forth games with plenty of tension and interesting decisions, especially since many of the cards in the Old School Cube are some of the less renowned cards from the early days of Magic. Put in the right context, they still make for entertaining, engaging games. ____________ The final matchup of this Old versus New showdown was between a WG Dinos deck from Ixalan and a WU Skies/Tempo (aka "Annoying") deck from this cube. As with the previous matchups, the Old School deck got off to a fast start, but the Ixalan deck had some life gain built in that made the early losses mostly moot. I think got Carinne down to 8 life at one point, but must have done at least at least 40 damage over the course of the game through repeated unblockable attacks for 4 damage through the air. In the midgame, she started getting some heavy hitters down, but the Witch Hunter and other annoying spells kept her deck off balance. The game was basically over when she resolved the Verdant Sun Avatar, which granted her absurd amounts of life and loomed as a serious threat. Still, I had super annoying cards like Blinking Spirit that could continuously block her biggest threat and then just get recast on the next turn. ("I don't want to see this deck ever again," Carinne said after I explained that card.) Ultimately, without any hard removal and going against creatures that couldn't be felled by a couple pingers, I had no way to escape the inevitable and finally had to sacrifice my utility creatures to chump block, only to lose on the next turn anyway. Decks like this one are the double-edged sword of the Old School Cube. They're fun to me because they are so different from anything in the modern game, but they're also the most annoying to play against. It's clear Carinne's had her fill, and it remains to be seen whether nostalgia outweighs the annoyance factor with the rest of my playing group.

Weatherlight Expansion

I'd been saving these cards for an eventual Weatherlight Saga Cube, but upon closer inspection realized they were mechanically more tied to the earlier sets that populate this cube. Archetypes needing some more support (e.g., GWU Enchantments) are fortunate enough to get some good cards here, and other cards are just solid additions, allowing me to expunge the set of some stinkers.
Benalish KnightAngelic RenewalEmpyrial ArmorHeavy BallistaArdent MilitiaSerra's BlessingDisruptSage OwlOphidianPhantom WarriorTolarian SerpentArgivian RestorationFledgling DjinnAbyssal GatekeeperBuried AliveHidden HorrorSpinning DarknessShadow RiderCinder WallThunderboltFervorLava HoundsCone of FlameBloodrock CyclopsRogue ElephantGaea's BlessingFallow WurmCall of the WildLlanowar BehemothStriped Bears

Legendary Sideboard

These Legendary Creatures will be on hand for pre/post-draft of the main set to throw into decks as Commanders for a Brawl variant I'm considering. Alternatively, a few of them can be subbed into the main draft every once in a while to spice things up.
General JarkeldSidar JabariHakim, LoreweaverReveka, Wizard SavantSpirit of the NightIhsan's ShadeMarton StromgaldTelim'TorAutumn WillowKaysaRubinia SoulsingerDakkon BlackbladeSol'kanar the Swamp KingXira ArienJohanAyesha TanakaNebuchadnezzarTor WaukiStanggAsmira, Holy Avenger

Sideboard to Classic Cube

These badasses are all being sent to the higher-powered Classic Cube.
Swords to PlowsharesWrath of GodBalanceArmageddonSerra AngelControl MagicMan-o'-WarCloneHymn to TourachAnimate DeadDark RitualNekrataalLightning BoltIncinerateFireballPyroclasmPyrotechnicsLlanowar ElvesRampant GrowthFyndhorn ElvesMishra's FactoryNevinyrral's DiskSol RingStrip MineCity of BrassBirds of ParadiseSylvan LibraryMind TwistCounterspellBrainstorm

More to Make Way

A few recent additions and a couple old fillers are getting the boot to make way for the upcoming update.
Pearled UnicornHomarid Spawning BedForbidden RitualMudslideJolrael's Centaur

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